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The Watermelon Woman

November 2, 2019 @ 8:00 pm

| $5-$13

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“Funky screwball comedy in the key of queer” is how critic B. Ruby Rich characterized The Watermelon Woman, the first feature of video artist/comedienne Cheryl Dunye. In it, Dunye plays a lesbian video-store clerk and would-be filmmaker who becomes obsessed with uncovering the history of a star of the early “race” films, the so-called Watermelon Woman. It develops that this “mammy” was a sister, as Cheryl’s research uncovers an affair with a white woman filmmaker à la Dorothy Arzner. The plot allows Dunye to incorporate a pastiche of footage—from fabulous black-and-white “plantation” melodramas to interviews with real-life notables (including Camille Paglia) who bite the bait—into her very intelligent unraveling of cultural icons. Meanwhile, Cheryl takes up her own interracial romance, with a white customer (Guinevere Turner). Dunye has been compared to Yvonne Rainer in her style of personable self-referential disjunction, and to Isaac Julien for her cultural irreverence and absolute relevance.


November 2, 2019
8:00 pm
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The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
2155 Center St, Berkeley, CA 94720 United States